Before the Empire

My extant version of the Arashálinu Enáthaga began with the first Emperor and only briefly mentioned Alénach, who had arisen as the leader of the White Alliance before the Empire’s founding. Nevertheless the early history of the Dhéruhir is fairly well-detailed in my archives, with an account of the migrations of the then-nomadic Laghá into the region, their assimilation of the Vádzh already living there, and the development of city-states and in time a loose alliance to ward off incursions by still-barbaric tribes dwelling to the west.

It seems to me that the chroniclers would not have started their account cold, as it were, especially given that the dynastic history was begun a century or two after the Founding, and was likely intended to be a history of the Empire to that point. Leaving out all context as to the Founding would seem unlikely. So I’ve written a prologue along with additional Editor’s Notes which I may well expand at a later time.

Long years before the Empire the Laghá came to the lands of the Dhéruhir from the west and brought with them the faith of Kórbrak. They settled among the lands of the Vádzh, and soon they were one people. They grew millet and wheat after the manner of the Vádzh, and their numbers swelled, and soon they built cities where all manner of tradesfolk might gather behind high walls in safety. Yet to the west there were still the unlettered tribes of the Laghá who were called the Rekóna, with whom they warred. The great chief Hásteka led the western clans against all the cities, and Verékha and Henésta fell to them. So the Lords of the cities made the league which is called the White Alliance, and defeated the western tribes on the banks of the Menúr. Yet Hásteka fled and lived many years yet, often raiding in force though he feared to come once more against the whole army of the Alliance with his sworn tribes, so the Alliance endured for three generations.

In the last of these arose Alénach, a man of Dravá, and he became most prominent among the Lords of the cities, and the other Lords were coerced to do his bidding, lest all fall to the Rekóna, among whom yet another chief had arisen who thought to weld all the tribes into a great horde. It was Alénach who led the armies of the Alliance against the tribes, and in a campaign of six years subdued them and forced them to submit to the will of Dravá, yet not to the Alliance. After this none could gainsay him, and he set about gathering all powers to himself in Dravá, which had grown to be largest and mightiest of the cities of the Dhéruhir.

Editor’s Notes

There are reasons to think that the transition between the loose mutual defense league called the White Alliance (for so it seems in the fragmentary records available) was not so abrupt as the tale in the Arashálinu Enáthaga would seem to imply. But records of that time are extremely scarce and have often been subject to revisionism and reinterpretation over the centuries, and a full account of the theories of historians of that age is beyond the scope of this work.

What can be known is that the people of the cities of the Dhéruhir (the claw-shaped peninsula that juts out from the eastern Surathan coast into the Luésh Alén (the “Green Waters” in Draványa, called the Sea of Doorways by many other peoples living on its shores,) were literate from at least BF 200, and possibly earlier. It is thought that the migrating Laghá and the indigenous Vádzh formed a unique cultural union to which the Laghá brought a warrior ethos and cultural pride and the Vádzh instilled agriculture, literacy and many other endowments of civilization.

Lineage and Language

I have closely guarded the Arashálinu Enáthaga for many years; already I have shown more of it in the last two posts than ever before. Part of the reason for this is its status in a yet-unfinished state, even though there is a lot of material that’s pretty final as far as matters of history go.

nounsThe bigger part of the issue is the language. As the vanishingly few regular readers of this blog and older Ytherra websites may know, I have developed the Draványa language to a fairly high degree of detail. As the years have gone by, however, I’ve taken formal classes in linguistics and Latin and learned tiny smattering of German and Spanish on my own, so I have learned quite a lot about languages and conlangs. Draványa has therefore evolves considerably since the very early days when I had a couple of pages of notes about name endings and such; now it has a large array of information on noun cases and declensions, verb inflections due to tense, mood and voice, a lexicon of over a thousand words and an abundance of notes on particles, cardinal and ordinal numbers, clause sructure, etymology and so on. It’s rather short of being a full formal grammar (not least for not being written up in that way,) but it’s vastly more than I had 15-20 years ago when I first set down the names and titles of the Arashálinu Enáthaga.

This means that the dynastic history of Arál Draván, rife with usage of Draványa, is linguistically very badly outdated and in need of revision. It’s this that’s kept me from posting it for so long. At the same time, the Arashálinu Enáthaga is in many ways the keystone of Ytherra’s history, and not being able to use it as a reference has held me back. Its gaps are also the gaps in that history, and with thirty-nine centuries to cover there are all too many of those.

The original Ytherra website, now only a memory but still preserved in my archives, focused tightly on Arál Draván. In recent years I’ve done more development on the Selureans, Mánthezar, the cities of the Haddanai and various other topics for precisely the reasons given above. Yet Arál Draván remains central to my long-term plans for Ytherra, so it’s important that it be brought back into the fold and its histories righted.

In recent weeks I’ve given my inflection tables a thorough going-over and the rest of the grammar notes a review, and begun a new version of the lexicon from scratch, painstakingly checking each word of the old lexicon before moving it to the new one, often with changes and corrections. I’m using the Arashálinu Enáthaga as my roadmap for this, moving slowly through the list of rulers and revising as I go, and sometimes adding new bits, especially in the Editor’s Notes.

At the moment the first thirteen rulers, into the Third (Morúku) Dynasty, are fully revised. In many cases regnal titles have changed slighly or completely, and other bits of Draványa have been fixed up or added as well. I plan to post these regularly as I keep working at it, along with additional commentary.

Of Lazhám the Betrayer: The Arashálinu Enáthaga, Part 2

Today’s writing sample is another piece of the Arashálinu Enáthaga, detailing the second ruler of Arál Draván and his reign. The document itself, although with much else about the world of Ytherra has been sitting my my archives for many years. It’s tough to say how old this piece is in particular, but it’s from pretty early on, maybe as much as twenty years old. I originally patterned the document after Tolkien’s The Kings of Númenor, as found in Unfinished Tales, but it soon took on a life of its own, with sometimes extensive notes added to the account of each ruler.

The Arashálinu Enáthaga is not “finished,” in that the prose dynastic history is yet incomplete. What is done, however, is the complete list of rulers with descriptive titles and the years of their reigns, and a lot of notes on various Emperors and Empresses along the way.

A brief note about the history: As previously mentioned, Arál Draván uses the Imperial Reckoning (IR) calendar, which counts years from the founding of the Empire by Zhómach. The current year in this calendar is 3841. So Arál Draván is an exceptionally stable and enduring nation… but there have been many, many bumps along the road, and some seismic shifts in the Empire and its society.

In the Empire’s thirty-nine centuries there have been 182 Emeperors and Empresses in twenty-one dynasties. There have been four major interregnal periods, the longest of which lasted more than three centuries, and innumerable disturbances and civil and foreign wars. The Empire is still strong and still a major power, but it has contracted considerably from its greatest extents, and there are those who hold that its fleets and legions conceal a hollow heart.

Lazhám Ithkayu, the Second Árashal

Lazhám, called Ithkayu, the Betrayer, was born thirty-eight years before the Imperial Era and ruled in the fifth year of Empire. He betrayed Zhomach and his two eldest sons at the Battle of the Isán Rivers and surrounding himself with forces obedient to him he seized the City. He fled with loyal troops after 17 Ghelishu, the Day of Red Streets, until his death in battle on 3 Maleravu. He is held to have reigned as Emperor for seventy-three days. The swords of those loyal to Lazham were cast into an iron seat by Varlesh in memory of both their valor and their treason, and spells of preservation were laid upon it, that it might never succumb to rust or decay. It has ever after been called the Traitor’s Throne.

Editor’s Notes

The most ancient extant records include Lazhám as an Emperor of the Zhomachu Dynasty, though he was not (so far as is known) related by blood to Zhomach or his father Alenach, and despite his illegitimate seizure of the throne. Many scholars over the centuries have argued persuasively for his removal from the Zhomachu Dynasty in favor of an interregnal period, or even his excision from the Arashálinu Enáthaga altogether. Nevertheless, the tradition stands, with Lazhám accounted the second ruler of Arál Draván.